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About the American Association of Colleges of Nursing
The American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) is the national voice for academic nursing representing more than 850 schools of nursing nationwide. AACN establishes quality standards for nursing education, influences the nursing profession to improve health care, and promotes public support of baccalaureate and graduate nursing education, research, and practice. 



AACN Members Endorse Resolution Calling for Smoke- and Tobacco-Free Schools of Nursing

Published April 19, 2016

AACN Members Endorse Resolution Calling for Smoke-
and Tobacco-Free Schools of Nursing

WASHINGTON, D.C., April 19, 2016 – The American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) is pleased to announce that the deans of the nation’s baccalaureate and graduate nursing programs have endorsed a resolution calling for smoke-free college campuses. This call to action was issued to mobilize support among nurse educators for promoting tobacco-free policies at colleges and universities nationwide in an effort to promote healthy behaviors and save lives.

"Academic nursing leaders recognize the importance of establishing learning environments that support the optimal health and wellness of all students, faculty, and staff," said Dr. Juliann Sebastian, Chair of the AACN Board of Directors. "AACN is committed to working with the larger higher education community to advance policies that prohibit tobacco use, promote smoking cessation, and eliminate health risks, which will result in healthier academic environments."

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the World Health Organization, and other leading authorities, tobacco use is the leading cause of preventable death.  In the US alone, cigarette smoking is responsible for more than 480,000 deaths per year, including nearly 42,000 deaths resulting from secondhand smoke exposure. Though more than 1,000 college campuses are now smoke-free, more must be done to ensure that all colleges adopt policies and practices that prohibit tobacco use and support healthy living.

At the AACN Business Meeting held in Washington, DC on March 21, 2016, the following resolution was endorsed by a vote of the association’s membership:

A Call to Action for Nursing Leadership to Promote Smoke- and Tobacco-Free Schools of Nursing on Smoke- and Tobacco-Free Campuses across the United States

Whereas tobacco use and exposure remains the leading cause of preventable death in the United States;

Whereas the World Health Organization reports the future global tobacco epidemic is projected to see over 8 million deaths a year by 2030;

Whereas smoke- and tobacco-free policies can significantly reduce tobacco-related morbidity and mortality by preventing exposure to second-hand smoke and increasing quit rates;

Whereas the emergence of alternative tobacco products, including electronic cigarettes, is increasing and pose additional health issues and concerns;

Whereas the majority of schools of nursing are on campuses that have not implemented smoke- and tobacco-free environments as monitored by the American for Nonsmokers’ Rights Foundation;

Whereas smoking and tobacco use among students and their lack of adequate knowledge about tobacco health effects and tobacco dependence treatment negatively impacts their ability to intervene with patients who use tobacco;

Be it resolved that the American Association of College of Nursing will strongly encourage schools of nursing to promote 100% smoke- and tobacco-free policies on their campuses to support a healthy working and living environment for all students, staff, and faculty.

And be it further resolved that deans in schools of nursing can provide leadership to advocate for and assist in the implementation of policies on college campuses that meet the American College Health Association goals for a smoke- and tobacco-free environment and smoking cessation support for all students.

The resolution was brought forward for consideration by four nursing school deans,  including Linda Sarna, PhD, RN, FAAN, Dean, Professor, and Lulu Wolf Hassenplug Endowed Chair, University of California Los Angeles, School of Nursing; Janie Heath, PhD, RN, FAAN, Dean and Warwick Professor of Nursing, College of Nursing, University of Kentucky, College of Nursing; Anna McDaniel, PhD, RN, FAAN, Dean and Professor, University of Florida, College of Nursing; and Jeannette Andrews, PhD, RN, FAAN, Dean and Professor, University of South Carolina, College of Nursing.

AACN has been an advocate for smoke- and tobacco-free learning environments for more than 10 years. In 2004, AACN partnered with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to provide communications support to advance the Tobacco-Free Nurses initiative. In January 2015, the AACN Board of Directors endorsed a resolution advanced by the American Academy of Nursing, which called for Smoke-Free Campus Policies for Schools of Nursing and College Campuses. For more information about the Academy’s resolution and to access resources to help support smoke-free campus efforts, visit this website.